All Of Us Are Dead (Season 1, 2022)
Creators: Lee JQ, Chun Sung-il, Kim Nam-su
Cast: Park Ji-hu, Yoon Chan-young, Cho Yi-hyun, Lomon, Yoo In-soo, Lee You-mi, Kim Byong-chul, Lee Kyoo-hyung, Jeon Bae-soo
A high school becomes ground zero for a zombie virus outbreak. Trapped students must fight their way out or turn into one of the rabid infected. – IMDB
The latest Korean series to land on Netflix is a zombie high school horror drama called All of Us are Dead set for the most part in the suburban high school and follows the different groups of students trapped in as this zombie virus outbreak hits. All of Us Are Dead is rather unique. The angle it approaches to how this virus was produced and the motive behind it attacks a core issue which essentially didn’t do anything to fix the problem itself but the intentions being respectable for a science teacher with a desperate mission to help his son find the courage to fight off his bullies. This factor alone makes the virus outbreak being in the high school seem like a reasonable and suitable location.
Running longer than the average Korean series available on Netflix, All Of Us Are Dead has 12 episodes where each runs over an hour long. While the execution of the show itself is relatively decent, the pacing is where it tends to feel little stretched out in parts especially with some of the side plots and side characters, some of which feels almost unnecessary as it isn’t developed in enough length to make them meaningful other than being an additional factor that changes the main group of high school students trying to move from one location to the next to find safety and escape.
With that said, there are some great elements in terms of execution. The zombies and their transitions are done really well. The exploration of the virus is explained as it follows these video logs from the creator as he tries to track its change and hopefully find a treatment which sporadically pops up as the students experience those moments. There are decently executed and well-spaced out twists that give the story enough pivot to keep it engaging. The students themselves also have some creative ways in defense and finding ways to escape their current predicament. Adding in a touch of humanity in times of crisis and survival and mostly decent character development and some meaningful supporting characters regardless of their screen time and All of Us Are Dead is definitely an engaging viewing experience.
All of Us Are Dead is actually much more than a zombie teen drama. In fact, the whole teen element adds in their own coming of age angle for a few of the characters. Its main storyline revolving around two teens who are neighbors and childhood friends On-jo (Ji-hu Park) and Cheong-san (Chan-young Yoon) who have the most character development throughout the series, making their friendship and bond very meaningful to watch. However, that doesn’t discount the other characters in this group of classmates who add in their own comedic relief and different know-hows that contribute to various solutions. Of course, also having some students who have their own selfish personality, perhaps one of the most irritating characters played by Squid Game’s supporting actress Ji-Yeong who lands a role as a classist and snobby girl, Na-Yeon (Lee Yoo-mi).
Much like the main antagonist of the story right from the start, Gwi-nam (In-soo Yoo) who also ends up having an annoying and hated role which feels like it doesn’t quite reach the satisfying sort of ending that his character would probably deserve in the end. Or even dialing right back to some of the other classmates who feel like significant characters but lack a more in-depth character development to give them more context. Of course, this is a survival show so a lot of the emotions grows as the body count increases as the classmates also start being infected one by one and the longer time surviving together creates a bond between them. That element plays incredibly well and is honestly the strength of the show, even when it expands later on when the military gets involved.
In the heart of keeping this mostly spoiler-free, I don’t want to dive into too many details. All Of Us Are Dead is a pretty decent Korean zombie series. It has a lot of great elements in terms of execution of the horror and tension while balancing it with some comedic relief. A lot of that is contributed by a rather solid cast even if some characters do lack more development, the friendship and bond between each of the groups do prove to be what carries a lot of the story and makes the more dramatic moments more emotional. There are some arcs that definitely could have been spared or shortened and some supporting characters that probably didn’t get enough screen time. The length did affect a bit of the pacing making some parts feel longer than it needed to be but overall, the series does a great job at building up to a good ending that makes for a great direction to expand if they were to have a second season.